Bats test positive for rabies in Illinois

Photo courtesy of Pixabay / MGN

Illinois (KWQC) - The Illinois Department of Public Health, or IDPH, says bats become more active during the summer months and is reminding people to beware of rabies. So far this year, 17 bats have tested positive for rabies.

That number is not considered outrageous. Typically, anywhere from 1,300 to 1,700 bats are tested each year. The number testing positive for rabies is typically around three percent. More bats are typically submitted for testing in August and September.

“Although most bats are not infected with rabies, it’s important to avoid handling bats, get and keep your pets vaccinated," said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D.

"Make sure your home has no openings where bats can come in.”

The only way rabies can be diagnosed in a bat is by laboratory testing. Signs that a bat or other animal could have rabies are a general appearance of sickness or a change in the animal's normal behavior.

The IDPH says bats should never be handled. Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals. If you find yourself near a bat, close the door to the room where the bat is and call the local health department.

To keep your pets safe, make sure they are vaccinated and don’t allow them to roam freely.